Praying to Entangled Gods

From the Washington Post, in a fair and balanced (*ahem*) article on the effect of prayer on healing:

But supporters say that much about medicine remains murky or is explained only over time. They say, for example, that it was relatively recently that scientists figured out how aspirin works, although it has been in use for centuries.

“Yesterday’s science fiction often becomes tomorrow’s science,” said John A. Astin of the California Pacific Medical Center.

Proponents often cite a phenomenon from quantum physics, in which distant particles can affect each other’s behavior in mysterious ways.

“When quantum physics was emerging, Einstein wrote about spooky interactions between particles at a distance,” Krucoff said. “That’s at least one very theoretical model that might support notions of distant prayer or distant healing.”

Well yeah, it might support the notions of distant prayer or distant healing, except that it explicitly doesn’t support those notions since entanglement can’t be used to signal and hence can’t be used to influence distant objects in the way distant prayer or distant healing would. Argh!

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9 Responses to Praying to Entangled Gods

  1. Prashant says:

    Yes, it might not be possible with entanglement. But the very possibility of two systems at the end of the univese connected in some wierd sense motivates us to find some phenomena in nature which can be used for distance healing or telepathy purposes.

    What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole
    is a good speculative movie on such issues of using Quantum physics and what we can tell or hope to tell about our dear mother Nature.

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  2. Dave: I’m still waiting for the report about pairs of terminal cancer patients on opposite sides of the country, who both flip a coin and, with 85% probability, have exactly one miraculous recovery between the two of them if and only if both of the coins land “heads.”

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  3. Dave Bacon says:

    Prashant: don’t you think that’s putting the conclusions before the facts? Sure I’d love it if Harry Potter magic were true, but I’ve seen no evidence of it.

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  4. Dave Bacon says:

    Scott: the exclusive-or in your example is a killer.

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  5. What?

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  6. Dave Bacon says:

    It was a joke: “exactly one” = “exclusive-or.” Killer as in cancer. Sorry, it was in bad taste and obscure. Doh.

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  7. Well, I suppose it might be possible, if you’re prepared to accept that you have a 50% chance of killing them as well…. and nobody looks at them for quite a while.

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  8. John Sidles says:

    Why would a scientist like me pray when a chart of the influence of prayer on survival shows very little efficacy? I do pray, though, and in this sad world, I find distressingly many occasions to do so.

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